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Hans Blix's Objectivity
March 8, 2003 3:34 PM   Subscribe

Is Hans Blix attempting to cover up the discovery of an undeclared Iraqi drone, recently discovered by U.N. inspectors? A 173 page declassified report released, after Blix's report to the Security Council on Friday, tells of a remotely piloted drone with a wingspan of 7.45m, that Iraq did not declare, and that Blix failed to mention in his oral presentation. Why would he leave this out of this presentation?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood (144 comments total)

 
isn't mentioning something in a public report the very opposite of covering up? i mean, i understand blix didn't make a big ruckus about it, but he did report it.
posted by kickingtheground at 3:37 PM on March 8, 2003


From my understanding (and I could be wrong about this...) Powell & Co. were the ones that declassified the report.

So...

If the report would not have been made declassified, this information would not have come up via Blix, as it should have...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:40 PM on March 8, 2003


It would not have come to the attention of the general public had it not been declassified, but unless you expect the United Nations not to read the report that Blix presented to them with the information concerning the drone included, how does reporting something count as covering it up?
posted by 4easypayments at 3:48 PM on March 8, 2003


what kind of a name is hans blix, anyway? that's no good american name.
posted by kjh at 3:51 PM on March 8, 2003


Nice try guys. Iraq couldn't even get a manned Mig over here let alone a some sort of a robotic drone.

This playing to the fear, uncertainty and doubt crowd. Look who's telling us to be very, very afraid about an Iraqi drone. Jack Straw and Colin Powell.

Again, nice try guys.

If anything at all the drone could only possibly be utilized for is on the Iraqi field of battle (in which case, I assume they will use manned migs). Think you can RC "a drone" from halfway around the world, nothing robotic about the craft at all? Sorry. Communication with your Evil Iraqi Drone delay.

A drone for a poor ass country that can barely keep its tanks maintained is a pretty stooooopid way of defending yourself. In fact a drone's a drone.

A drone used by the US military is similarly not christened because it protects any of us here in The Homeland. A drone is simply a form of Bushie/PNAC global terrorism. Fictional and factual, drones are a highly stupid idea for Hussein to even be troubling himself over.

Unless of course, these here Iraqi drones are outfitted with the very latest in anti-gravity mechanisms, each employing the sophistication of an onboard supercomputer, the likes of which the world has never seen.
posted by crasspastor at 3:54 PM on March 8, 2003


Is Hans Blix attempting to cover up the discovery of an undeclared Iraqi drone..?
No. Nope, not really. You can go back to what you weren't doing now.
posted by Shane at 4:02 PM on March 8, 2003


Steve_at_Linnwood: The article you linked states: "The decision by Dr Blix to declassify the internal report marks the first time the UN has made public its suspicions about Iraq’s banned weapons programmes, rather than what it has been able to actually confirm."
posted by subgenius at 4:03 PM on March 8, 2003


Iraq couldn't even get a manned Mig over here let alone a some sort of a robotic drone.

Who said anything about over here? We have 200,000 troops in the area, not to mention many, many civilians that neighbor his country. If Iraq could attack the USA with the drones is irrelevant. What is relevant is that he did not declare them and that his is forbidden from having them.

4easypayments: If Saddam had turned over documentation proving that he destroyed all of his WMDs, and Blix conveniently left it out of his public report, are you sure you would answer the same way?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:03 PM on March 8, 2003


Steve, gotcha covered:

This (is) playing to the fear, uncertainty and doubt crowd. . .

If anything at all the drone could only possibly be utilized for is on the Iraqi field of battle (in which case, I assume they will use manned migs).
posted by crasspastor at 4:08 PM on March 8, 2003


Is the drone made of aluminum? Because we made asses of ourselves with that one before...
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:11 PM on March 8, 2003


So, comparing lies and spins:

Bush-UK side:

Fraudulent report about uranium importation.
Fraudulent report about continued production of Al Samouds
Cheney denied verifiable reports of 73 billion dollar investment in Iraq, post GulfWar I
Bush apparently went AWOL during his own military service, lied about it.
Ari Fleischer denies that we're buying votes, after Turkey bribe. (to laughter)
Continued administration lies about connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
Use of documents from plagarized term paper masquerade as evidence of WMD production.
Wolfowitz and allied foreign policy wonks in place before election promise to not engage in "nation building"
No mention of fact that same expert (Hussein Kamel) used to show evidence of WMD also said most WMD was destroyed by 1995.

Blix:
"hid" existence of single drone craft, which *could* be used to spread biological or chemical weapons, in a SINGLE SPACED document before handing it to UNSC delegates.
posted by condour75 at 4:12 PM on March 8, 2003


i don't know why steve works so hard to undermine his position with these posts.
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:17 PM on March 8, 2003


Of course, the drone is just one of the points raised in the article. Blix's commission suspects that there remain 10,000 liters of anthrax in a country that claimed to have none in its full, final statement. He left this detail out of his presentation as well.

Clearly, the Iraqi government is lying, and clearly Blix thinks that by covering for Iraq's lies he is preventing war. He is wrong.

The sad part is that by taking a tougher stance and actually using all the tools that 1441 gave him, he might have prevented war by convincing Saddam to back down.

He, along with most war critics probably made war more likely by convincing Saddam he could continue cheat and retreat and get away with it.
posted by ednopantz at 4:36 PM on March 8, 2003


The right pro-war crowd trying to kill Blix's credibility? Say it aint so! I caught a minute or so of Fox news only to hear how Blix was part of a conspiracy and/or a dupe of Saddam. I remember his initial reports that were critical of Iraq and how the very same crowd were quoting him line and verse.

For any practical reason, war has been declared, now the right is trying anything to find a reason for justification. Like an inmate on death row using his last appeals. At first it was Saddam's nukes. Whoops, there aren't any. Then it was his biologicals. Where are they? Now its protecting the region. Heh, nice one, Bush.

Here on mefi, I believe the last conspiracy post had to do with some ships at sea.
posted by skallas at 4:41 PM on March 8, 2003


He, along with most war critics probably made war more likely by convincing Saddam he could continue cheat and retreat and get away with it.

#!/usr/bin/perl
while (<bullshit>){
s/He/Colin Powell and Jack Straw
s/Saddam/Bush
s/ critics/mongers
s/cheat and retreat/lie to the international community
}
print;

>run
Colin Powell and Jack Straw, along with most warmongers, probably made war more likely by convincing Bush he could continue to lie to the international community and get away with it.
posted by condour75 at 4:46 PM on March 8, 2003


Again, endopantz, steve, anyone, tell me how Blix is hiding anything. Again, from the article: "The decision by Dr Blix to declassify the internal report marks the first time the UN has made public its suspicions about Iraq’s banned weapons programmes, rather than what it has been able to actually confirm."

It's funny I never see the pro-war people close a thread. There's always some devastating point against their argument that gets ignored and unanswered.

I think subgenius already found it for this thread.
posted by betaray at 4:49 PM on March 8, 2003


Of course, the drone is just one of the points raised in the article. Blix's commission suspects that there remain 10,000 liters of anthrax in a country that claimed to have none in its full, final statement. He left this detail out of his presentation as well.

Clearly, the Iraqi government is lying, and clearly Blix thinks that by covering for Iraq's lies he is preventing war. He is wrong.

Clear as mud. It's not clear just because it's what you want to believe, ednopantz. Personally, I'd love to see the full content of Iraq's declaration- except we can't, since the United States decided to strip 2/3 of it before releasing it. Funny how we're all nitpicking the elements of a document none of us have even been given the privilege to read.

Your accusation that Blix is now shilling for the Iraqis A. hasn't a sliver of evidence to it, and B. sounds completely and utterly insane.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:52 PM on March 8, 2003


Also, upon reading that quote again, it shows exactly the difference between the UN and the US. In the US our leaders will air any suspicion in public before there is proof, and the UN functions by only releasing things they've been able to confirm.

Endopantz, is waiting for the facts the kind of "cover for Iraq's lies" that you're upset by?
posted by betaray at 4:54 PM on March 8, 2003


It's funny I never see the pro-war people close a thread.

We're gonna close it in about 1-2 weeks.

Then it was his biologicals. Where are they?

Exactly!
posted by Witty at 4:58 PM on March 8, 2003


Regardless of whether Blix was or was not trying to cover this up, what disturbs me most are these items that the Times article quotes or paraphrases from the inspector's report:

1. "revealed the existence of a drone ... that has not been declared by Iraq"

2. "another section of the declassified report, the inspectors give warning that Iraq still has spraying devices and drop tanks that could be used in dispersing chemical and biological agents from aircraft"

3. "The paper suggests that Iraq has huge stockpiles of anthrax, may be developing long-range missiles and could possess chemical and biological R400 aerial bombs and Scud missiles, and even smallpox"

4. "Unmovic has credible information that the total quantity of biological warfare agent in bombs, warheads and in bulk at the time of the Gulf War was 7,000 litres more than declared by Iraq. This additional agent was most likely all anthrax"

5. "the report says there is “credible information” indicating that 21,000 litres of biological warfare agent, including some 10,000 litres of anthrax, was stored in bulk at locations around the country during the war and was never destroyed."

Not Bush, not Powell, not S@L, but UNMOVIC said this.

on preview: betaray, "The decision by Dr Blix to declassify the internal report marks the first time the UN has made public its suspicions about Iraq’s banned weapons programmes, rather than what it has been able to actually confirm."
posted by turbodog at 5:05 PM on March 8, 2003


Blix is doing an admirable job. The thing is, only a fool would, as this point, conclude that his findings are not an argument for an immediate start to the war.

I regret I will probably be in Vermont, detached from Mefi when the liberation of Iraq begins March 17 or 18; unable to enjoy all the anti-war primal screems here on Mefi.

Interestingly, said date coincides with the Jewish holiday of Purim, when, next door in Persia (Iran), the Jews were saved.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:13 PM on March 8, 2003


Blix is doing an admirable job. The thing is, only a fool would, as this point, conclude that his findings are not an argument for an immediate start to the war.

Then Blix is a fool?

If you feed this paradox into a fox news robot, does it spark up and explode?
posted by condour75 at 5:19 PM on March 8, 2003


Blix is doing an admirable job. The thing is, only a fool would, as this point, conclude that his findings are not an argument for an immediate start to the war.

That... what? Iraq is disarming?

Tell me that Iraq has more weapons now than it did 12 years ago. Tell me that is has more weapons than it did 12 weeks ago. To use Blix's report as support for invasion is a pretext for saying that we should invade Iraq because they're doing what we tell them to, just not fast enough.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:23 PM on March 8, 2003


Endopantz, is waiting for the facts the kind of "cover for Iraq's lies" that you're upset by?


covering for their lies would involve not making any efforts to confirm their patently absurd claims.

Our scientists want to be interviewed in Iraq, with a member of the secret police present, or at the very least, a tape recorder not because they fear that they will be tortured for what they say, no, not at all.

Taken abroad for interviews? No. They would refuse because they really like Iraq and would hate to leave. Nobody wants to be interviewed abroad.

That scientist? He's dead. Died years ago, not available for interviews. Sorry. Oh, you saw him on the street. It must have been his cousin.

Your drivers? No of course they aren't Iraqi intelligence agents.

Prohibited missiles? We don't have any prohibited missiles. Oh, those prohibited missiles.

Chemical arms? Never had any. Wait! We did have some once, but don't anymore. That's it, we destroyed it. All of it, and kept no records of any kind.

OK, in 1991, when we said we had no banned weapons, we were lying. And in 1992, and, now that you mention it, in 1995. Maybe in 1998 we weren't completely honest with you but this time, we are telling the truth, but we can't prove it in any way.


At the first lie he should have walked out. Maybe that would have convinced Saddam that he has to finally comply with the 1991 cease fire he signed.

We will find out who is right sometime in the next two weeks.
posted by ednopantz at 5:25 PM on March 8, 2003


We will find out who is right sometime in the next two weeks.

How do you figure? Only your approach is going to be tried. It's like shooting an injured animal because it wasn't going to get better anyway. There's no way to prove or disprove the counterclaim.

The anti-war folks aren't arguing that there isn't going to be a war. We're not arguing that Saddam is a nice guy. We're arguing that there shouldn't be a war. Historians will decide that in the future, but not two weeks from now.
posted by condour75 at 5:36 PM on March 8, 2003


We're gonna close it in about 1-2 weeks.
We will find out who is right sometime in the next two weeks.

I'm amazed at the one-handed-typing ability here. Exactly what's going to be proven and who's going to be right if Bush invades in the next two weeks? Going in without any evidence to retroactively prove "we were right" is going to disprove the notion that Bush wants to go into Iraq without any evidence on the hopes that he'll find something to make a case after-the-fact? Shit, I guess it does make you go blind.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:38 PM on March 8, 2003


It will never cease to amaze me how there are those on MeFi who will claim kinship with an evil man about to do an evil thing, just because he's going to do it, and they want to be on the "right side" when all is said and done. When their pathetic attempts at justification fail, they all run home to the mama argument:

Oh yeah, when we destroy Iraq's soveriengty, and economy, and internal structure, then by God you'll see the justification for our destruction then!!!!

Here's hint, no, I won't. If you can't come up with a better reason to attack Iraq than that it may be a threat in the future (if we attack, no less) then all you've done is support a violent overthrow just because you wanted to.
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:41 PM on March 8, 2003


Actually, Blix did mention the drones in his oral report.

"Inspectors are also engaged in examining Iraq's programme for Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs). A number of sites have been inspected with data being collected to assess the range and other capabilities of the various models found. Inspections are continuing in this area."

You can look it up.
posted by Bryant at 5:50 PM on March 8, 2003


hahahahahahahaha thanks bryant. I guess that wraps this thread up.

Here's the link. (nyt, tho i'm sure you can find it elsewhere)
posted by condour75 at 5:53 PM on March 8, 2003


My pleasure. I heard this James Bone guy on NPR last night, so I doublechecked the oral report then. Anyone know who James Bone is? Is he normally prone to this kind of sloppy reporting? I gotta admit, I'm somewhat surprised to see this coming from the Times.
posted by Bryant at 5:58 PM on March 8, 2003


He gassed his own people, you know.
posted by 2sheets at 6:09 PM on March 8, 2003


condour75: great. now all we have to worry about is this.
posted by turbodog at 6:09 PM on March 8, 2003


I wrote the Times about the mistake. I hope other readers of this thread will do the same. For what it's worth, here's what I told them:

=========


In an article dated March 8, 2003, linked at

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-603370,00.html#

James Bone wrote that Hans Blix did not inform the Security Council about "the drone, or remotely piloted vehicle, in his oral presentation to Foreign Ministers".

Yet the transcript of the oral presentation clearly mentions RPVs:

"Inspectors are also engaged in examining Iraq's programme for Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs). A number of sites have been inspected with data being collected to assess the range and other capabilities of the various models found. Inspections are continuing in this area."

In a time of impending war, this is an exceedingly careless mistake to make. It unduly suggests an ulterior motive on the part of the most honest and objective player in this conflict, and the one most clearly entrusted with resolving the situation.

I have always found the Times to be an excellent newspaper, and I trust that I will see a correction of this error.
posted by condour75 at 6:10 PM on March 8, 2003


So maybe they have anthrax. Blix is looking for it, and if he doesn't find it he will let us know. If you're that scared, take a fucking cipro and get on with your life.
posted by condour75 at 6:11 PM on March 8, 2003


and sorry if that was overly snarky Turbodog. It wasn't aimed at you.
posted by condour75 at 6:16 PM on March 8, 2003


...and tried to bury it in a 173-page single-spaced report distributed later in the day

those sneaky Scandanavians and their treacherous, deceitful single spacing. what's the point of even releasing the report if you're not going to double-space? Might as well write it in invisible ink.
posted by boltman at 6:21 PM on March 8, 2003


"Steve, paging Steve at Linnwood. You are wanted in your thread for nonsensical rebuttal. Please report to the comment box at the bottom of your thread. "
posted by Espoo2 at 6:46 PM on March 8, 2003


If there is a shitload of anthrax in Iraq, aren't air-to-ground missiles about the worst way to implement a war on them? I'm thinking that shit's gonna be blowed up real good. A fine aerosal mist, to be carried on the wind currents around the world.

That said, I also had the idea the other day that if the objective is to be rid of Hussein, why doesn't the USA just drop a bunker-buster on each and every one of his palaces, simultaneously? Odds are he's inside one of them.

Although what I really question is how Dan Rather could get face-to-face with the bugger, and the CIA didn't even have the wherewithall to have him packed chock-o-bloc full of remote-controlled explosives. Wouldn't Dan happily give his life to save he lives of thousands of US soldiers?

I say these silly things only because this thread has already gone to the dogs.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:48 PM on March 8, 2003


It always amazes me the mention that Saddam is a threat in the future. How far into the future are we supposed to project. Based on that reasoning we might as well blow up the entire world as who is to know just who will be a threat in the future if we look far enough ahead.
posted by SweetIceT at 6:51 PM on March 8, 2003


Why would he leave this out of this presentation?

Posting a news article about Iraq is bad enough, but did you really have to put the conspiratorial spin on it? Badly done, Steve, badly done.
posted by oissubke at 7:23 PM on March 8, 2003


this is a cause desperately, desperately scraping the bottom of the excuse barrel. how any rational person can still be on board at this point is depressing indeed.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:31 PM on March 8, 2003


Support does seem to be waning. The New York Times, which has taken a hawkish line in the past, has adopted an editorial position against unilateral war. You'll also want to check out Jimmy Carter's point by point refutation that this is a just war.
posted by condour75 at 7:44 PM on March 8, 2003


Meanwhile, Bush still hasn't declassified the information which Senator Graham claims points to Saudi Arabian sponsorship of the 9/11 hijakers. I wonder if any of the US officials who are outraged at Blix are outraged about that too.
posted by homunculus at 7:51 PM on March 8, 2003


"Support does seem to be waning."

Only on Metafilter is this obvious.

Several million spoilled, detached-from-reality ignorami in countries with non-existent militaries; who owe their way of life, if not existence to the United States, and the US' refusal to cower when faced with totalitarian threats does not a waning of support make. And really, subtract the French and Germans, well-established nations of cowards with MAJOR economic ties to Iraq, and who do you have left as opposition.

We are going to war. We are taking out Saddam, and hopefully shaking up the most corrupt, despotic, murderous, opportunity-squandering region in the world.

Amen!
posted by ParisParamus at 7:57 PM on March 8, 2003


hehehehehe.
posted by condour75 at 8:05 PM on March 8, 2003


Amen!

Blessed are the nookyuhler, for they shall inherit the glass.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:14 PM on March 8, 2003


Blix wants to avoid war at all costs. He's been duped by Saddam before, in a very embarassing way... all in all Saddam sees him as more innocuous than you or I see an IRS auditor.
posted by clevershark at 8:37 PM on March 8, 2003


Whatever, Hans Blix Rocks.
posted by condour75 at 8:47 PM on March 8, 2003


I hope Paris gets drafted, so he can see the glorious dawn of a new age firsthand.
posted by influx at 9:03 PM on March 8, 2003


I have a feeling the Republicans will draft him just to keep him out of Metafilter threads.
posted by condour75 at 9:07 PM on March 8, 2003


shaking up the most corrupt, despotic, murderous, opportunity-squandering region in the world

I agree-- after Saddam, Bush will finally have the juice to put the screws to Sharon, the other mass-murderer in the region. It's a classic Bakerian strategy. I am sure Paris will be thrilled when Bush finally tells Israel where they can put their occupation.
posted by chaz at 9:46 PM on March 8, 2003


If only Paris were a white house advisor. Then we could hear Bush try to pronounce "opportunity-squanderers". Oh, and as for:

"Support does seem to be waning."
Only on Metafilter is this obvious.

Read 'em and weep.
posted by condour75 at 9:55 PM on March 8, 2003


Oh god, what a completely horseshit issue: "why would he leave this out of this presentation?" As noted, Blix didn't. His report contained detailed information on the issue, and his oral presentation indicated investigation is ongoing on real issues like the range of the drones.

But how revealing the knee-jerk reaction this little story produced (it was the front page megaheadline on Drudge earlier today). Blix's report was absolutely devastating to the United States' idiotic position, and so the real reason this whole dumb drone non-issue got cranked up is this: Bush and his flunkies and supporters are coming to the startling (for them) realization that people like Blix and many members of the United Nations can't be purchased. They are furious and more than a little fearful because people like Blix don't give a fig about any supposed consequences of merely patiently speaking truth. For some, that is both frightening and infuriating. I don't know what kind of world these people live in....where truth lays malleable by carrot or stick...but thankfully the vast majority of the world doesn't buy into such a wretched and shallow little weltanschauung.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:04 PM on March 8, 2003


>Vermont, detached from Mefi when the liberation of Iraq begins March 17 or 18

Aren't you also the one who warned us of Powell's big presentation; that it will cement world opinion against Saddam? Sure, 99% of it has been debunked, but I'm afraid your newest prediction might be on the money.
posted by skallas at 10:19 PM on March 8, 2003


From Blix's presentation:

The 12th quarterly report is the first that describes three months of inspection. They come after four years without inspections. The report was finalized 10 days ago, and a number of relevant events have taken place since then. Today's statement will supplement the circulated report on these points to bring the council up to date.

Learn to read, Steve, you fucking moron.
posted by riviera at 10:20 PM on March 8, 2003


('you fucking moron' being a nod to Bill Hicks, I should say.)
posted by riviera at 10:24 PM on March 8, 2003


is ParisParamus f'real?
posted by kv at 10:25 PM on March 8, 2003


The thing is, only a fool would, as this point, conclude that his findings are not an argument for an immediate start to the war.

Well, that's you, Paris. And why Vermont, and not the Kuwaiti border, you brave soul?
posted by riviera at 10:30 PM on March 8, 2003


Weltanschauung. Weeeeeeeellllllllllllllltanschaaaaaaaaauuuuuuung.

There is nothing more this thread can provide me.

Goodnight.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:32 PM on March 8, 2003


Oh, and condour75: all the Murdoch papers are spinning pro-war like paper oscilloscopes. Their Great Leader has said that having oil at $20/barrel is the best thing in the world. Not that that undermines the moral authority of the position at all.
posted by riviera at 10:34 PM on March 8, 2003


Yar. But NY Post readers were gonna go pro-war anyway. It was scarier when the Times was jingoistic. It's my hope that AOLTW will recognize an opportunity toward dove, as they lose market share to NewsCorp, and inch that way. But then, i'm a dreamer -- Today, CNN covered Code Pink by showing that the Raelians were there.

Oh, and while we're on the topic of media. Remember the press conference? Ari admitted, on CSPAN, that he gave Bush a list of reporters to call. K5 got the scoop.
posted by condour75 at 10:44 PM on March 8, 2003


How is this some kind of cover up? What it looks like, instead, is an effort to discredit Hans Blix and the inspection process.

As for the concept of "hiding information" about drones, that's ludicrous. This is actually rehashing information that Powell harped on previously. It was covered in The Washington Post, Time, etc.

As for a report being declassified, big whoops. We already know that it was the US who declassified the report, but what isn't made clear is whether the US were also the ones to submit that report to the UN.

Bet you we were.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:23 PM on March 8, 2003


Unnamed Democrat Edges Bush In '04, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds

Now, if they could only find a named Democrat who would perform as well as an unnamed one. [/rimshot]
(What do you expect from a guy with the same hometown as Arsenio Hall and Dennis Kucinich?)

But Quinnipiac University?!? Sounds like an educational institution so small, it doesn't have an ivory tower, it has an ivory bungalow. [/rimshot] Prediction: the Dept. of Homely Security will find a major terrorist cell in the faculty lounge at Quinnipiac before the fall semester...
posted by wendell at 11:49 PM on March 8, 2003


Y'all are so cute. It's like watching kittens pawing a fuzzball across the kitchen floor. You kids want some milk n' cookies?
posted by Witty at 12:33 AM on March 9, 2003


We are going to war. We are taking out Saddam, and hopefully shaking up the most corrupt, despotic, murderous, opportunity-squandering region in the world.

Except, you know, China. And North Korea. And Iran, and Zimbabwe. And quite a few other countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Shall they get in line and wait to be bombed, or are we just tackling the easiest and/or most easily demonized target in the hopes of putting the fear o'God into the rest of them? Seems to me that if we're out to "shake up" other countries, we've got quite a lot of work to do -- by ourselves, of course.
posted by Epenthesis at 3:30 AM on March 9, 2003


Weeeeeeeellllllllllllllltanschaaaaaaaaauuuuuuung.

There is nothing more this thread can provide me.


well, no, it did provide a fuckload of Schadenfreude, too
posted by matteo at 7:06 AM on March 9, 2003


What is relevant is that he did not declare them and that his is forbidden from having them.

Really? See, what I thought was important to you was that you thought Blix was covering it up and that Powell and Co. were some kind of noble truth seekers instead of unabashed warmongers. At least stay on your own topic, Steve.
posted by holycola at 7:54 AM on March 9, 2003


Ari admitted, on CSPAN, that he gave Bush a list of reporters to call.

That's interesting, condour, but not terribly surprising. I figured as much when he didn't call on Helen Thomas.
posted by Vidiot at 7:55 AM on March 9, 2003


"I agree-- after Saddam, Bush will finally have the juice to put the screws to Sharon, the other mass-murderer in the region."

Dream on, oh dellusional antisemitic one. After Saddam--the Corporation for Public Broadcasting of terrorism--is gone, the Palestinians of the territories will son how their terrorism against Israel has put their dream of an autonomous homeland even deeper into the toilet. Hamas=Arafat=no Palestine. To wit (from th Jewishweek.com):

Jerusalem (JTA) Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat wrote recently to Saddam Hussein asking the Iraqi leader for continued help in fighting Israel.

"Any kind of support and assistance from you in these difficult times will enable us to continue our persistence and resistance," Arafat wrote, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute. "Hand in hand, Iraq and the Palestinians will march to Jerusalem," Arafat added.

Arafat also wished Saddam well as a U.S.-led war against Iraq looms: "May Allah the Powerful protect Iraq from the great dangers and evils that loom over it."


Way to go, Yasir!
posted by ParisParamus at 10:33 AM on March 9, 2003


Why, oh why, do you persist, Paris? Unless you're some sort of anti-semetic troll, you've so thoroughly discredited yourself that every word you write undermines the Israeli cause.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:08 AM on March 9, 2003


Great piece in the WaPo by Gary Hart: A Detour From the War on Terrorism.
posted by homunculus at 11:10 AM on March 9, 2003


Way to go, Paris!
Here's another way of looking at the situation:

'In essentials, the US took over the framework of control of the Middle East established by Britain after World War I. The states of the region were to be administered by what Britain called an "Arab Facade," weak and pliable; Britain's "absorption" of the colonies would be "veiled by constitutional fictions as a protectorate, a sphere of influence, a buffer State, and so on," a device more cost-effective than direct rule. When needed, British muscle would be available. The US modified the system by incorporating a second tier of "local cops on the beat," as the Nixon Administration called them: local gendarmes to ensure order, preferably non-Arab, with police HQ in Washington, and US-UK force in reserve'
'Every step of the way, this proceeds with US authorization and subsidy, funneled through various channels, along with critical military and diplomatic support. The US has also taken pains to ensure that the escalating state terror during the current confrontations will be free from observation, let alone inhibition. UN initiatives for have been blocked throughout. On March 27, 2001, the US vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for international observers. According to European sources cited in the Israeli press, the proposal was "scuttled" by Washington's "four noes," which "shocked the representatives of the four European countries that put together the resolution - Ireland, Britain, Norway and France." The US rejected any mention of the word "siege" or the principle of land-for-peace, of settlements, or of international law and the Geneva Convention. Arabs and their allies had abandoned their own resolution, hoping that Europe could "negotiate with the Americans over the formula." A US diplomat explained that "the United States believes the UN should stay out of the settlement debate" and that "the Geneva Convention issue" should be resolved between Israel and the Palestinians, without "prejudgment" through UN involvement.'
'There is a good reason why Washington wants any reference to the Geneva Conventions suppressed, and why the media cooperate so fully -- even to the extent of informing readers that the "disputed territories" are considered to be occupied territories by the Palestinians, which is true enough: the Palestinians and everyone else apart from Israel and its superpower patron.'
Maybe you are both right, but only one of you is comprehensively referenced ; )
posted by asok at 11:33 AM on March 9, 2003


Europe's history of antisemitism, which continues today in numerous ways, including, for example, bans on the kosher slaughter of animals, disqualifies it from "facilitating" an Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation. The best thing Europe can do is discover, or stop avoiding investigating how much of it's "support" of the Palestinian authority has purchased bombs for Hamas and Fatah.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:29 PM on March 9, 2003


Oh, lordy, PP, you are just so full of shit. Go away, you little jew-hating fuckwad.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:35 PM on March 9, 2003


FFF: you are the Jew hater. You are a disgrace to humanity, and a menace to Western civilization.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:43 PM on March 9, 2003


Is President Bush also "full of shit?" How low can you go? What depraved culture and environment leadspeople such as you to doub that a Saddam Hussein, or a Hamas, or an Arafat is a murderous thug who deserves to die asap? What, is Hussein's million killed not enough for you? Is his funding of suicide bombers not sufficient? How depraved of people to be marching in the street against a war against such regimes. How utterly disgraceful.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:01 PM on March 9, 2003


So, let's recap: Thread starts because Hans Blix didn't mention something in his oral presentation, though it was noted in the documentation. Then it turns out that he did, in fact, mention it in his oral presentation. Therefore, Hussein is Evil and Must Be Killed by the Rightous American Invaders, Defenders Of All That Is Good In The World.

Does that more or less sum up your position, Paris?
posted by ook at 2:32 PM on March 9, 2003


Paris, are you for real?
posted by mcsweetie at 3:45 PM on March 9, 2003


LOL. Paris, Paris, Paris. [shakes head ruefully]

Whatever.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:51 PM on March 9, 2003


Weeeeeeeellllllllllllllltanschaaaaaaaaauuuuuuung. Ohm.... Ohm..........
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:11 PM on March 9, 2003


Looks like the right didn't fair to well this time 'round.
And furthermore... where the hell did Steve go?
posted by Espoo2 at 4:52 PM on March 9, 2003


Well, he's made the news, at any rate.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:31 PM on March 9, 2003


My position? That you don't need to love George Bush, or not have doubts about his or America's motivations to approve of the United States' decision to eliminate a proven million+person murderer who has enough bio and chem weapons, and an unlimited supply of petro-dollars, and weekly pronouncements about the evil of America and Israel, etc.

And you should be all the more ashamed of yourself for siding with France, which sees nothing wrong with invading Ivory Coast without UN approval. FUCK THE FRENCH.

By the way, predictions of the name to be given to this one? Those names are hokey, certainly, but someone appears to like naming military operations. So:

Operation Iraq Freedom?
Operation Iraq for Iraqis?
Operation ....?

Operation
posted by ParisParamus at 5:36 PM on March 9, 2003


Jeez, PP, take a deep breath.

you're slamming a country for invading another without UN approval, and beating the drum for exactly the same outcome? Either UN approval is necessary or it isn't.

And if the US's goal is to remove a dictator and/or stop a humanitarian disaster, why haven't we invaded North Korea, Rwanda, the Sudan, Cuba, Syria, or Sierra Leone yet? (among many others.)
posted by Vidiot at 5:51 PM on March 9, 2003


and uh you might want to think about the lives (and deaths) of your children and their children, etc.

if Bush goes ahead with this war, it'll become a religious war with future generations of martyrs willing to die, so long as they kill a lot of Americans along the way.
posted by kv at 6:46 PM on March 9, 2003


I still don't understand why it's "illegal" for Iraq to have the same things we (Americans) have. Someone please explain this to me, and please spare me the crap about Iraq being a terrorist nation - the U.S. is a terrorist nation in the eyes of many - and don't tell me about some treaty that was signed - how many treaties is the U.S. in violation of (ask the Native Americans), and how many treaties has the U.S. backed out of? Just explain to me why it's "illegal" for Iraq to have the same things America has, and be polite.
posted by LowDog at 6:48 PM on March 9, 2003


I'm waiting... tap... tap... tap...
posted by LowDog at 6:58 PM on March 9, 2003


LowDog: They lost a war and signed an agreement not to have them.
posted by Plunge at 7:20 PM on March 9, 2003


Blix 'hid smoking gun' from Britain and US
March 10, 2003

Britain and the United States will today press the chief UN weapons inspector to admit that he has found a “smoking gun” in Iraq. Such an admission could persuade swing voters on the Security Council to back the March 17 ultimatum.

The British and US ambassadors plan to demand that Hans Blix reveals more details of a huge undeclared Iraqi unmanned aircraft, the discovery of which he failed to mention in his oral report to Security Council foreign ministers on Friday. Its existence was only disclosed in a declassified 173-page document circulated by the inspectors at the end of the meeting — an apparent attempt by Dr Blix to hide the revelation to avoid triggering a war.

Tomorrow's Times
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:18 PM on March 9, 2003


Jeez, PP, take a deep breath.

I'm quite calm.

Either UN approval is necessary or it isn't.
It's not, and has never been. It wasn't when the US stopped most of bloodshed in the ex-Yugoslavia (after the European powers could do shit about it; it wasn't necessary when France sends troops to Africa every few months. Nonetheless, it would be prefered if a just war were sanctioned by the world community. If it is not, it doesn't become unjust.

And if the US's goal is to remove a dictator and/or stop a humanitarian disaster, why haven't we invaded
Because it's not just a domestic humanitarian disaster. Please don't tell me you cannot fathom how mixed, or combined motivations don't have to cancel each other out. Moreover:


North Korea: we may have to withing a few months;
Syria: toppling Saddam will reduce scare the shit out of this horrid state

and uh you might want to think about the lives (and deaths) of your children and their children, etc.
And you might think of the deaths of the children and parents which will result should the US NOT take out Saddam. Chances are the civilian casualties of the upcoming war will be comparable to 3-6 months of Saddam Hussein's continued rule.

If Bush goes ahead with this war, it'll become a religious war with future generations of martyrs willing to die, so long as they kill a lot of Americans along the way.
Yeah, sure. Believe me: they're already doing that. Moreover, the same cowardly predictions were made when we very successfully bombed Libya; and when we went into Afghanistan.


...Just explain to me why it's "illegal" for Iraq to have the same things America has, and be polite.

Because the United State is a civilized nation. Iraq is not. And that sufficies as an explanation. Can you prove that murder is wrong? Probably not. Do yourself a favor and stop falling for the leftist canard that all morality is arbitrary or relative. We are mostly right; Saddam is wrong.

Steve_At_Linwood: thank you for being a voice of reason here at Metafiler.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:29 PM on March 9, 2003


the discovery of which he failed to mention in his oral report

Haven't we already dealt with that assertion here and here?
posted by Vidiot at 8:40 PM on March 9, 2003


The report does not mention the discovery of a previously unknown and undeclared drone.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:00 PM on March 9, 2003


an apparent attempt by Dr Blix to hide the revelation to avoid triggering a war.

Well, well, well. Isn't that conveenient?? You can't shout that one away, folks, try though you might.

Good find Steve_@_L.
posted by hama7 at 9:07 PM on March 9, 2003


So Blix is not an "inspector", but a "war preventer"? No wonder they're hardly finding anything, finding is not their intention.
posted by hama7 at 9:15 PM on March 9, 2003


read the thread, hama7. Blix did mention the drone in his report. No need to shout.
posted by condour75 at 9:15 PM on March 9, 2003


Not according to this, (up six comments by S@L).
posted by hama7 at 9:21 PM on March 9, 2003


This is the same drone. Same wingspan. Mentioned in the oral report. Story is written by the same guy.
posted by condour75 at 9:31 PM on March 9, 2003


Hans Blix is not our enemy. He is doing his job, and under enormous pressure from the US to produce reports that bolster its position, as well as the rest of the world, who does not want this war (excepting Tony Blair and John Howard, with few of their people behind them).

France is not our enemy, Germany is not our enemy. The notion that they somehow "owe" us for WWII, to the point of violating international agreements against pre-emptive strikes (which were signed after WWII as a deterrent to any possible future Hitlers). The US expects France and Germany to take positions contrary to their national consciences, and deeply contrary to their citizenry's, despite any trade agreements which might help them in the meantime. If it's fair to say that there is a "noble purpose" behind the US-led march to war, even if it's not the only purpose, then it might be worth considering that Germany and France's position is noble to them. If you force the hand of your allies to go to war when you have not been attacked, and say that these countries "owe us" for our help in defending them three generations hence, it might be worth realizing that they wouldn't be defending us in this situation - they would be assisting in a pre-emptive strike, starting a war with Iraq. Most of France and Germany's people remember all-too-well what unchecked imperialism looks like, and what forms it takes when justifying its violent Pax Romana. It never lasts, and they know this, too, from their own histories. Britain should remember what happened as a result of their carving up the Ottoman Empire into nation-states, and how their empire was in decline at the time (so we took up where they left off), something which didn't seem to occur to Britain at the time. They thought, it being the Victorian Age and denial being all the rage, that they were at the top of their game. But they couldn't hold it together, just too many fingers in too many pies.

All this nitpicking with diplomacy and talk of impatience may be what some people casually describe as "gunboat diplomacy," but it will be difficult to find our friends again should we go it alone - not just ignoring the sentiment of the vast majority of the world, but thumbing our nose at them - and, God forbid, should we get attacked again at home because of it.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:31 PM on March 9, 2003


Actually, Blix did mention the drones in his oral report.

"Inspectors are also engaged in examining Iraq's programme for Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs). A number of sites have been inspected with data being collected to assess the range and other capabilities of the various models found. Inspections are continuing in this area."

You can look it up.
posted by Bryant at 5:50 PM PST on March 8

posted by Espoo2 at 9:31 PM on March 9, 2003


Because the United State is a civilized nation. Iraq is not. And that sufficies as an explanation ... Do yourself a favor and stop falling for the leftist canard that all morality is arbitrary or relative. We are mostly right; Saddam is wrong.

...thank you for being a voice of reason here at Metafiler.

Well, as you can see, we need to make up for certain people.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:36 PM on March 9, 2003


And you should be all the more ashamed of yourself for siding with France, which sees nothing wrong with invading Ivory Coast without UN approval. FUCK THE FRENCH.

This would seem (to me, at least) to indicate against:

I'm quite calm. and: [UN approval] wasn't necessary when France sends troops to Africa every few months.

It wasn't when the US stopped most of bloodshed in the ex-Yugoslavia

Wasn't this under the auspices of NATO and the UN? I believe KFOR was set up by NATO, under a UN mandate. Thirty-seven different countries contribute troops to KFOR, eighteen of which are not NATO members.

Please don't tell me you cannot fathom how mixed, or combined motivations don't have to cancel each other out.

When did I ever say this? I think you're over-reaching. My point was that if it's the US's role to remove dictators and stop humanitarian crises, then fine. We should commit to it, and not ignore the ones that don't get as much publicity (Sudan, Sierra Leone, et al.) If we decide that it's the US's role to stabilize volatile regions of the globe, then we should commit to that: take care of countries that have nukes that are threatening the US (North Korea) and make more of an effort to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian crisis. (and this thread is ugly enough as it is; no way am I gonna elaborate on that.)

What irritates me most about the current US foreign policy is its arbitrariness. We only go after some dictators, we only decide to stop some humanitarian crises, we only decide to work to stabilize certain volatile regions. After all, talk of attacking Iraq came only hours after the 9/11 attacks...never mind that there was no evidence of Saddam's involvement. (I'm pretty sure that Rumsfeld didn't see the towers collapse and think "my goodness, millions more civilians in Iraq will die unless we remove this despot.")

On preview: what krinklyfig said. Well-put. It's disingenuous to instill a culture of pacifism and democracy in postwar Europe and then complain that those same countries refuse to go to war with us because their citizens don't want them to.
posted by Vidiot at 9:37 PM on March 9, 2003


Metafilter: FUCK THE FRENCH.
posted by UKnowForKids at 9:53 PM on March 9, 2003


Or, alternatively:

Metafilter: Steve_At_Linwood: thank you for being a voice of reason
posted by UKnowForKids at 9:54 PM on March 9, 2003


a clarification: "that those same countries refuse to go to war with us" should read "that those same countries refuse to go to war ALONGSIDE us."
posted by Vidiot at 9:57 PM on March 9, 2003


Metafilter: FUCK THE FRENCH.

Or, alternatively:

Metafilter: Steve_At_Linwood: thank you for being a voice of reason


I suggest a compromise:

Metafilter: FUCK the voice of reason.
posted by homunculus at 10:41 PM on March 9, 2003


I can feel the love...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:38 PM on March 9, 2003


I can't believe I made it to the end of the thread.

You know, if we set a precedent that it's OK to attack nations that MAY be dangerous to us in the future, and then we act like the most drunken, dangerous, redneck, asshole American cliche cowboy ever, don't you think that other countries might get the idea that WE might be dangerous to them in the future?

And if it's OK to attack countries that might be dangerous to you down the road --say they're throwing their military around and doing violent things that much of the rest of the world disapproves of and thinks are insane-- then might not they attack us pre-emptively? And --according to our own reasoning on the issue-- might not they be in the right to do so? Certainly this is not a precedent I would like China to mull over for very long.

And as you turn into a whisp of vapor, PP, you can shout with your incandescent final breath..."But WE'RE civilized!"
posted by umberto at 12:31 AM on March 10, 2003


Metafilter: end the taglines NOW!
posted by john at 1:01 AM on March 10, 2003


Several million spoilled, detached-from-reality ignorami in countries with non-existent militaries; who owe their way of life, if not existence to the United States, and the US' refusal to cower when faced with totalitarian threats does not a waning of support make. And really, subtract the French and Germans, well-established nations of cowards with MAJOR economic ties to Iraq, and who do you have left as opposition.

I think this is one of the best pieces of writing I've read on Mefi. Mad, but brilliant.
posted by Summer at 3:37 AM on March 10, 2003


Wasn't this under the auspices of NATO and the UN?


No. The UN passed a number of Resolutions, but never authorized the bombing, which was carried out by NATO. KFOR was only useful after the bombing.

And by the way, despite the protests, the UN will be chomping at the bit to get in on the reconstruction/reconstitution of Iraq. Hopefully, the US will moderate UN influence on that.

My point...if we decide that it's the US's role to stabilize volatile regions of the globe, then we should commit to that: take care of countries that have nukes that are threatening the US (North Korea) and make more of an effort to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian crisis...

Well, the US has, and will be obliged to do a lot of what you describe (N. Korea is getting scary. I think from the persepctive of a madman, taking out another is very threatening, hence HK's current activities) But it doesn't have the resources to do it all. Unfortunately, a maniac who threatens both his own people and other nations (via WMD proliferation) takes a higher priority than a "mere" domestic lunatic/murder. And again, I think they'll be a marked improvement in the prospects for peace in the I/P disaster once such Iraq is gone, and it's neighbors get scared. And they will get scared, even if their leaders' hearts stay just as wretched.

posted by ParisParamus at 4:39 AM on March 10, 2003


Perhaps what's most disappointing about the whole US-European divide on Iraq is my impression that Europeans view Americans as too detached, affluent, whatever to really understand the world and the nature of war. Really untrue. The basic divide is between Americans, who are comfortable with the idea the we can improve the world, and Europeans, who feel more passive. There's even a kind of "evolutionary" explanation for this: over the last century or so, large numbers of those SICK of the European mentality left for the United States.

So there really are more "sheep" in Europe than here.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:47 AM on March 10, 2003


I hope this really is the end of this fucking bullshit thread.

It gather that the colour spectrum on some planets is limited to black and white. To paraphrase Churchill, never in the history of humankind have so many entire nations been insulted and denegrated by so few, from the comfort of their workstations.

You know who you are. Or, sadly, maybe you don't.
posted by Doozer at 5:03 AM on March 10, 2003


Never in the history of humankind have so many nations been so morally and militarily weak in relation to another, and yet said nation been so benevolent and moral.

If the best you can do as an alternative to the United States tender a France, an impotent European Union, or Islamo-fascism, you'd better stop blaming the US for the world's ills.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:42 AM on March 10, 2003


who was blaming the US for the world's ills? I didn't see anyone doing that.

Hopefully, the US will moderate UN influence on [the reconstruction/reconstitution of Iraq.]

hee-hee...because Afghanistan has become such a wonderful, free, democratic, tender place now. (oh that's right -- Bush said he doesn't want to do nation-building.)

I'm gonna throw up my hands here, and go to threads where the reading comprehension level seems to be higher.
posted by Vidiot at 7:59 AM on March 10, 2003


ParisParamus's endless offtopic ranting aside, let's look at what we've got here.

The Iraqis have a remote-control plane that may or may not have a flight range exceeding the maximum allowed by current rules. The best the article can come up with is that the wingspan "suggests an illegal flight range" -- pretty soft. Based on the wingspan, this "huge drone" is half the size of a Cessna. What that suggests about its flight range, I have no idea -- and the inspectors clearly aren't sure yet either, since they say they're still examining it.

Blix mentions remote-controlled vehicles in his oral presentation, and says they're checking into whether the models found are in violation or not:

A number of sites have been inspected with data being collected to assess the range and other capabilities of the various models found.

...meaning at this point they don't know whether these vehicles are legal or not. But he mentioned them anyway, and noted this particular one in the written report.

Did he specifically describe this single, individual possibly-illegal-but-possibly-not remote-control plane in his speech? No, he didn't; he noted the topic, described it as still under research and moved on. Does that suggest some sort of cover-up? No. It suggests that Blix had a finite amount of time in which to speak, so could not list each and every individual rock they've looked under in the past six months.

Is this a "smoking gun?" Is it a "hidden bombshell?" No. It's a single reporter in a single paper trying to stretch a non-event into a few more column inches.
posted by ook at 8:06 AM on March 10, 2003


How many times do I have to say this? The drones Blix talked about on Friday were not the newly discovered drone. The 170 some-page unclassified document that was pre-released a week before Blix's oral report did not contain this new drone. The revised report released after Blix's oral report did contain the information on the new drone.

None of the members of the Security Council knew about this new drone when they spoke at the council.

It was a shock that this new drone was in the revised report when Blix did not mention the new drone in his oral report.

While Powell was reading off this report, citing 17 instances of this and 20 instances of that... it would have been helpful to have a full and complete list of the violations and deceptions that Iraq has committed.

What reason would Dr. Blix, who has told members of the press that he believes that inspections can contain Iraq, have for slipping this information in after the the meating of the Security Council?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:28 AM on March 10, 2003


Steve, I don't see at all how you're coming to the conclusion that his mention of drones was somehow intended to exclude this particular one; that seems nonsensical on its face. To paraphrase: 'we found some drones, we're checking to see whether they're illegal or not, further details are in this written report.' Seems pretty darn straightforward to me. What was he supposed to do, read the whole 173 pages aloud, in case any of those present couldn't read?

I also don't see anything at all in these articles that suggests that the written report was changed. (The main link does manage to suggest that Powell was reading from the report before it was handed out, though -- he was "reading from the report at the meeting", but the report was "handed out later in the day," or according to the other article "at the end of the meeting" -- so that may just be poor reporting on Bone's part.) If you've got evidence that there were two different written reports, one of which excluded this particular drone, great, let's see a link.
posted by ook at 9:07 AM on March 10, 2003


Hans Blix is obviously a genius evil mastermind, what with this not reporting the drone in the first paper, but reporting in the second paper. No one would ever see through such deviousness!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:15 AM on March 10, 2003


Well ook, Straw seems to think it is big deal. I just watched him say so on the floor of the House of Commons.

But hey whatever, no big deal that Iraq is violating UN resolutions with forbidden weapons...

Hey look, inspectors in Iraq have discovered today a new variety of rocket apparently configured to spread bomblets filled with chemical or biological agents over large areas...

Nothing to see here... move along... peace at all cost...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:59 AM on March 10, 2003


Steve, Paris.....you're fighting the good fight. I appreciate your energy to continue dealing with those who aren't facing reality here...wish I had more time to do the same.
posted by pjgulliver at 10:03 AM on March 10, 2003


Oh look, that bastion of right-wing news CBS is reporting this too...

The Security Council was to meet in closed session Monday afternoon. It was likely that the members would discuss the new allegations that Iraq has developed unmanned aerial vehicles capable of dispensing chemical weapons and a cluster bomb fitted to release tiny capsules of poisonous agents.

The new charges that Iraq has hidden dangerous weapons could figure into the furious last-minute drive to swing council members to vote for the U.S.-British-Spanish proposal, which says Iraq has failed to disarm and warns of "serious consequences" if Baghdad fails to comply by March 17.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:05 AM on March 10, 2003


Right. Can't answer the question, just change the subject. Nice tactic. But not very convincing.

You said:

The 170 some-page unclassified document that was pre-released a week before Blix's oral report did not contain this new drone. The revised report released after Blix's oral report did contain the information on the new drone.

Do you have any evidence at all that that's a true statement, or did you just invent it on the spot to support a failing argument?
posted by ook at 10:06 AM on March 10, 2003


(To clarify: I don't dispute at all the existence of Iraqi weapons -- these reconfigured 'bomblets' you just link to sound pretty damning. It's the suggestion that Blix is somehow involved in a coverup -- which was the putative subject of this thread, until Paris showed up and started randomizing -- that I find ludicrous.)
posted by ook at 10:15 AM on March 10, 2003


<grammar>...just linked to...</grammar>
posted by ook at 10:16 AM on March 10, 2003


Steve, to save you the trouble, you don't need to provide every story link. There's no argument that the United States is accusing Blix of this; that's just what every news report you've linked to clearly says. The argument is that the accusation is bullshit. According to several posters here, they've indicated it is. You're responding by.... showing that more news sources are reporting the accusation. And? I don't recall such appreciation form you when multiple sources reported the accusation of spying in the UN, or Blix's prior accusation that Saddam simply doesn't have a nuclear program (translated: we lied out our ass.)

You immiediately mocked Blix's intentions with your comment "What reason would Dr. Blix, who has told members of the press that he believes that inspections can contain Iraq, have for slipping this information in after the the meating of the Security Council?" So how can you even attempt to say nothing but "Straw seems to think it is big deal. I just watched him say so on the floor of the House of Commons" as your defense that the accusations are true? The guy who desires Peace is wrong because the guy who desires war says so? You can't have it both ways, Steve.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:37 AM on March 10, 2003


Do you have any evidence at all that that's a true statement

I do not have link, but Straw said this in the HoC this morning, and Ari is talking about it right now in the White House Briefing...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:46 AM on March 10, 2003


It would be nice if we could get a copy of the original draft that Colin Powell is talking about. Even without the report in hand though, how is this different from the everyday actions of the current administration?

This statement "The omission raised serious questions about Dr Blix’s objectivity. " is ridiculous in the face of the actions of the current administration.

Relying on forged documents to foster the belief that Iraq is looking to build a Uranium based Nuclear weapon. You can't tell me this doesn't indicate some sort of bias. Did our admin do any fact checking at all on this information?

As for the peace at any cost label being bandied about:

Steve is apparently in the war at any cost camp and damn the consequences. Iraq is a weak country lead by a bad man who has not lived up to the agreements he has signed at the end of the GULF WAR.

We've rehashed this plenty of times. The current administration, supposedly, believes that Sodamn Insane is so dangerous that we don't need anything greater than a pretext to remove him from power.

We're you and I disagree is how dangerous he is and the level of justification necessary for war with Iraq.

I know analogies are dangerous but here's one:

A mafia don is arrested for committing a serious crime, murder or whatever. He plea bargains his sentence down to house arrest.

During his sentence his parole officer becomes suspicious of his activities, searches his house and finds him in possession of a few guns. We couldn't find any drugs or drug paraphernalia to link him with the local drug lord despite anonymous tips that the don is in business with the drug lord.

Do we go to his home and execute him and his entire family due to gun possession?
posted by Wong Fei-hung at 11:02 AM on March 10, 2003


They're going to say, 'Yes,' you know. And if the Don were an Arab instead of a Sicilian some of them would say it real loudly.
posted by umberto at 11:48 AM on March 10, 2003


And again, I think they'll be a marked improvement in the prospects for peace in the I/P disaster once such Iraq is gone, and it's neighbors get scared. And they will get scared, even if their leaders' hearts stay just as wretched.


Ah yes, threaten 'em, rule by force, after all might does make right, and if they don't like our way, stick a barrel in their mouth and pull the trigger - that'll teach that we're right and they're wrong!
posted by LowDog at 11:51 AM on March 10, 2003


Okay -- if it turns out that Blix first released a report which didn't include this drone, but amended it later, and if it's not because of something simple like the drone not being discovered or verified until after the first report was circulated, then that would be questionable behavior on Blix's part. "Coverup" would still seem awfully overblown, but "softpedaling" might be an accurate statement. If. But that's a lot of ifs, and perhaps you'll forgive me that I don't exactly accept Ari's word as definitive at this point, given the string of outright lies we've had from him thus far.

As for "peace at all costs": nah. Not me. But (and this wanders into the wider war-or-no-war discussion, so I'll keep it brief and in small type) it's awfully hard to see Saddam as much of a threat to anybody these days. I'll stipulate that he's a tinpot dictator, he's bad for his country, and even that he's in violation of UN sanctions. But that describes about a third of the planet. He's not been credibly tied to any terrorist actions, his military is fifth-rate, and like it or not the inspections are working. As evidenced by the fact that we're finding these weapons and shutting them down. Cost-benefit analysis of just continuing inspections and intervention until Saddam croaks of old age, versus an expensive war followed by potential chaos throughout the region, increased risk of terrorist attacks because of the war, and let's not forget the lousy precedent we're setting by the whole first-strike strategy... well, seems like a pretty easy call to me. I think we have a much better chance of fighting terrorists with intelligence and police and international cooperation, than with massive unilateral military strikes against questionable targets. Saddam is the wrong guy, and we're going after him for the wrong reasons. That's my opinion. Not "peace at any cost".

I'm doing my best not to oversimplify your position and to respond to your actual statements rather than to some imaginary strawman version of you; I'd appreciate it if you would do the same for me.

posted by ook at 12:00 PM on March 10, 2003


Perhaps what's most disappointing about the whole US-European divide on Iraq is my impression that Europeans view Americans as too detached, affluent, whatever to really understand the world and the nature of war. Really untrue. The basic divide is between Americans, who are comfortable with the idea the we can improve the world, and Europeans, who feel more passive. There's even a kind of "evolutionary" explanation for this: over the last century or so, large numbers of those SICK of the European mentality left for the United States.

So there really are more "sheep" in Europe than here.


I think it has more to do with the fact that they see the rise and fall of empires now from the outside. But nobody thinks about the future. How is a democratic Iraq going to behave? Will they elect a fundamentalist Shi'ite to lead them, as that is what the majority believe? If not, how will the five competing factions in Iraq feel about a leader being imposed on them from one of the minority factions, like the Kurds? How will Turkey feel about the Kurds? What's the cost of the war going to be? Ari has refused to answer that one, even though he's been asked many times. No, it's all about right now, "there's a bad guy and we gotta take him out, look, he's got drones! He has WMDs he was going to stick in them! How do we know this? Well, look at that list of stuff we sold him! He hid them in 1991 when we destroyed his country for using them! (Excuse me, I've got to go sell some arms to Pakistan ...)"

Meanwhile, N. Korea is making nuclear weapons with our help and seeming indifference. And they're even lobbing them every once in a while right in front of our nose to see if we're noticing.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:08 PM on March 10, 2003


Steve is apparently in the war at any cost camp and damn the consequences.

As so many of you are in the pacifism at any cost camp and damn the consequences.

Pacifism and appeasement has never resulted in the desired outcome of the pacifists and appeasers. It only delays the inevitable, and many time exacerbates the situation, were-as war can be a useful diplomatic tool. It is all about risks. And as our President says, "The risk of inaction is greater than action" And that is risk I am not will to take.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:04 PM on March 10, 2003


Pacifism and appeasement has never resulted in the desired outcome of the pacifists and appeasers.

I'm still very confused with this "pacifism and appeasement" garbage. Obviously you're referring to France and/or Nazi Germany, and for that I simply don't understand that analogy. You make it sound like we want to give him Kuwait or something. The typical anti-war position still advocates the removal of WMD (not just from Iraq, but from the entire Mideast region) and the increase of freedoms for said peoples through the presence of peacekeeping forces. With the exception of removing the sanctions, which if done after the stripping of dictatorial power from Saddam will benefit only the Iraqi people, I fail to see how anything France or other anti-war nation bodies have suggested amounts to "appeasement."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:50 PM on March 10, 2003


XQUZYPHYR, "Appeaser" is just the standard insult for use in these situations. Anyone opposed to any war propounded by the speaker is automatically an "appeaser". It's a lot easier than arguing the facts, particularly when the facts have left you bereft of a leg to stand on. I wouldn't attempt to read any logic into it. It's essentially abandoning argument; synonymous with "I got nothing, you win."
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:57 PM on March 10, 2003


Maybe you could reread that bit about imaginary strawmen, Steve. Nobody's advocating inaction or appeasement. That's weak, and it's beneath you.
posted by ook at 2:38 PM on March 10, 2003


This seems to be the party line, that anything but war is non-action. Sanctions and inspections do not equal non-action. We are not dealing with pre-WWII Japan or Germany, at most we are dealing with a post-WWII Japan or Germany.

I don't believe war is a useful diplomatic tool. War is the tool you resort to when diplomacy fails. The THREAT of war is a useful diplomatic tool, but it is not a universal one. You don't chop a toddlers head off because it wets it's pants or you don't hunt rabbits with an elephant gun.

I don't believe in inaction either. I believe we should take action appropriate to the situation, it just happens that I don't agree that war is the proper action at this time. I believe we should attempt to work on stablizing Afghanistan. Our President forgot about our promise to do so in his budget recently.



Apparently he is more concerned with his image and how he can't pull out now that he had committed himself to this foolish path or look the fool to the people that elected him,

or

perhaps stabilizing Afghanistan just don't fit in the budget along with the war in Iraq and his proposed tax cuts.

Why are people who against this war deemed anti-American?

Where the Republicans that disagreed with Clinton's bombing of Iraq in '98 anti-American?
posted by Wong Fei-hung at 2:42 PM on March 10, 2003


Getting back to the original subject of a cover-up, the real scandal is that the Bush administration censored the 12,000 page Iraqi weapons declaration to remove the names of US companies that sold them the weapons.
posted by JackFlash at 3:02 PM on March 10, 2003


Blix Says Iraq Should Have Declared Drone
posted by hama7 at 11:47 PM on March 10, 2003


On a lighter note:

12 Iraqis throw in towel prematurely
posted by hama7 at 1:04 AM on March 11, 2003


12 Iraqis throw in towel prematurely

How much more Pythonesquely absurd can this Great Hoodwink become?

. . .and told them it was too early to lay down their arms.
posted by crasspastor at 1:46 AM on March 11, 2003


So here we all sit, STILL awaiting any justification whatsoever for the dumb assertion that Blix "left this out of this presentation", or failing that, why this was deemed newsworthy while U.S. and British lies about Iraq's capabilities were not.

"Appeaser" is just the standard insult for use in these situations. Anyone opposed to any war propounded by the speaker is automatically an "appeaser". It's a lot easier than arguing the facts, particularly when the facts have left you bereft of a leg to stand on. I wouldn't attempt to read any logic into it. It's essentially abandoning argument; synonymous with "I got nothing, you win."

Oh.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:48 PM on March 11, 2003


OOPS.
March 12, 2003 | Al-Taji, Iraq -- A remotely piloted aircraft that the United States has warned could spread chemical weapons appears to be made of balsa wood and duct tape, with two small propellors attached to what look like the engines of a weed whacker.

Iraqi officials took journalists to the Ibn Firnas State Company just north of Baghdad on Wednesday, where the drone's project director accused Secretary of State Colin Powell of misleading the U.N. Security Council and the public.


"He's making a big mistake," said Brig. Imad Abdul Latif. "He knows very well that this aircraft is not used for what he said."

In Washington's search for a "smoking gun" that would prove Iraq is not disarming, Powell has insisted the drone, which has a wingspan of 24.5 feet, could be fitted to dispense chemical and biological weapons. He has said it "should be of concern to everybody."

(snip)

Iraq insisted it declared the drone in a report in January -- and Hussein held up its declaration to prove it. The confusion, he said, was the result of a typo: The declaration said the wingspan was 14.5 feet instead of 24.5 feet as stated by Powell.

"When we discovered the mistake we addressed an official letter correcting the wingspan," he said. He showed that letter to reporters as well. He suggested inspectors had already seen the drone when the correction was made, but said: "No one of the inspectors noticed the difference."

"We are really astonished when we hear that this RPV was discovered by inspectors, when it was declared by Iraq," Hussein said. "Nothing is hidden."
So the answer to your original question, Steve, is a definitive "no." Glad we could get that cleared up.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:09 PM on March 12, 2003


If nothing else, the current administration is certainly inventive.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:31 PM on March 12, 2003


We are literally going to war to protect ourselves from a nation which is armed with balsa wood, weed whackers, and duct tape. Are we sure this isn't a Mel Brooks movie we're living in?

Before Wednesday's destruction, Iraq had destroyed 55 of its approximately 100 missiles, as well as 28 warheads, two casting chambers, two launchers and five engines -- all associated with the Al Samoud 2 program. Tools and computer software used for launching have also been destroyed.

Yep, these inspections sure are a failure, aren't they? Clearly we have no choice but to invade.
posted by ook at 3:15 PM on March 12, 2003


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